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Reading Teachers, a Necessity in Elementary Schools

Article Date: 
1 October, 2010 - 06:00

Nearly 40% of students in the United States have had, or are having, a challenge, in learning to read.  The good news is that many reading problems can be prevented or solved with a good reading teacher in conjunction with parents.  The bad news is that many children have to wait for their turn with reading teachers and parents who just do not have the time to help.  This waiting can be demoralizing to children as they fall further and further behind. So what can be done?  
Identifying children with reading struggles early in their life is the first thing.  Notice I said struggles not disabilities.  This is a huge difference.  Children struggle when they learn to read just as adults struggle when learning a new job or going through a difficult situation. The difference is that the child only has a small amount of time to overcome this struggle before a disability appears in life. This small amount of time is where the parent and teacher need the help of a competent reading instructor.
Reading teachers can identify many of the individual difficulties that a child is having.  This may be nothing else but the lack of appropriate literacy experiences in a student’s life. It may be the lack of phoneme awareness, or a lack of skills with the use of phonics that involves the teaching of how to connect the sounds of spoken English. Good reading teachers have the ability to help children go from connecting sounds to developing reading comprehension strategies. These strategies of semantic mapping, organizing, brainstorming, developing prior knowledge skills, vocabulary previewing, using visual aids in ones reading material, and accretion which is the act of adding to ones knowledge, is the heart of reading and understanding.
     Reading teachers not only work with individual children and in small groups, they work directly with the classroom teacher in developing reading curricula that reaches across all of the student’s subjects.  They can work as co-teachers in the classroom or as the classroom teacher giving time to the regular teacher to work one on one with an individual child.   They can provide targeted specific instruction to a whole class.  
Research tells us that reading does not happen out of chance.  It is taught by experience with literature by parents, classroom instruction by teachers and reading specialists. Once children know the sounds and the use of phonics they must be taught systematically the specific decoding, word recognition and reading comprehension skills that will take them beyond the learning to read and into the reading to learn.
If you think your child has a struggle in reading, talk to your classroom teacher.  Your schools in Morgan County have some wonderful reading teachers who would be happy to help, suggest, and guide you and your child. If the elementary school contacts you about the possibility of helping your child in reading, please take the time to come and see what they have to offer.   It may be nothing more than volunteering some time.